TDR Nova Equalizer Review


Let’s take a closer look at TDR Nova, a freeware audio effect that’s often regarded as the best free EQ plugin on the market. This article is the first in a series that will explore classic VST plugins from the past.

We have a bit of a blast from the past here with a plugin released back in 2015, Nova from Tokyo Dawn Records, and we are taking another look at it in our effort to determine whether it is still an awesome freebie.

At its core, Nova is a parallel dynamic equalizer plugin for macOS and Windows.

Let’s begin with a little bit of history.

As Tomislav stated in the original news article back in 2015, the inspiration for Nova came from Vladislav Goncharov’s KVR Developer Challenge entry, Nova-67P (our top-rated freebie at the time). Vladislav joined Tokyo Dawn Labs (now Tokyo Dawn Records), and Nova quickly became a much-appreciated freebie.

What made TDR Nova so good?

On the surface, Nova is a very useful four-band parametric EQ with additional highpass and lowpass filters with four slope settings ranging from 6dB/oct to 72dB/oct. With four EQ bands and filter slopes reaching 72dB/oct, you can already be fairly surgical in the realm of standard EQ.

Nova is generally clean, smooth and performs very well as a standard EQ. Like many EQ plugins, it’s not immune to a little harshness when boosting higher frequencies, but it does have a gain compensation feature (EQ Gain) that aims to keep the loudness the same when you boost frequencies.

Features like EQ Gain, a built-in spectral analyzer, and various processing modes contribute to an overall package that goes beyond the average freebie.

As a dynamic EQ, Nova lets you EQ the louder parts of a specific frequency different from the quieter parts, which is an excellent way to deal with harsh cymbals or problem vocals when performers get a little too into it.

Nova is a flexible dynamic processing tool that covers many applications, from basic EQ to full-band and multi-band compression-type settings.

A dynamic EQ is sometimes preferred to multi-band compression when dealing with specific frequencies. The lack of crossover filters often means a more transparent result while maintaining some of the glueing effects of multi-band compression.

Nova has a polished interface, even by today’s standards, sporting a typical parametric EQ layout, additional dynamic controls, and an intuitive workflow. The large drag-and-drop graph makes it easy to manipulate EQ bands and even has a handy Order By Frequency button that prevents any band number confusion.

Is TDR Nova still as worthwhile today?

Absolutely. Some plugins don’t age well, but Nova is a freebie worth checking out if you don’t already have it. On its release in 2015, Tomislav said, “The most impressive thing about TDR Nova is how easily it transforms from a simple parametric EQ into a super-precise dynamic equalizer.”

And that still rings true today because it provides experienced users with a very speedy workflow that produces solid results and offers beginners a less intimidating path into the world of dynamic EQ.

I’m keen on most things that help users learn more than they realize, providing it doesn’t just do everything for you without explanation, and I think Nova fits that description.

For my money, Nova is a worthy blast from the past, and hopefully, some new users can put it to work.

For more free EQ goodies, check out our best free EQ VST Plugins for mixing and mastering.

Nova is available in AU, VST2, VST3, and AAX formats for macOS (10.9 upwards) and Windows (XP SP2 upwards – talk about a blast from the past).

Download: Nova


TDR Nova Review


TDR Nova impresses us with its ability to transform from a simple parametric EQ into a super-precise dynamic equalizer. It is the best free EQ VST plugin you can download right now.

  • Features
  • Workflow
  • Performance
  • Design
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James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.


  1. This is a very good equalizer. If you like it, consider picking up the Gentleman’s Edition and look at the other TDR products, too. They have been on sale for 10 bucks a piece in the past. And they might be everything you need for basic mixing tasks and more complicated ones, too.

  2. I absolutely love Nova. It’s so good that I always end up using it other than other payed plugins I have for EQ. The multi compression is so handy and very very smooth.

  3. Tokyo Dawn Records make some of the best plugins out there. Very simple and easy to use yet powerful plugins.
    Even the free downloads are amazing and not limited and mainly it’s just one click download without any unwanted sign-ups and stuffs.
    If you love their plugins you should consider getting the Gentleman edition. They are usually on sale for 10$ on Plugin Boutique and Audio Deluxe.

    • I’ve never heard or measured any from it since launch. are you sure? did you measure it?
      it does not alias at all. not even in dynamic mode. Vladislav is a very proficient and clean audio coder. This eq doesn’t even cramp at nyquist like some paid alternatives.
      Please link to evidence of it aliasing.

      • I don’t have it installed currently. Only thing I remembered is null tests didn’t null when they should.

        Just for clarification ‘weird aliasing’ was an expression. I don’t know if its aliasing, it just has that ugly sound.

        • “ugly sound” ???

          As a professional audio engineer of over 15 years I can assure you this eq is one of the cleanest out there, especially in the top end. It far surpasses many efforts by Waves and other more established brands.

          Trust mem, re-evaluate the current version, there was a slight bug in the earliest version which you may have encountered, that’s the only reason I can think you may have come to that conclusion.
          If you still somehow hear this eq as “ugly” I would strongly suggest that this is a big red flag for you ear training and / or monitoring environment, as something is clearly wrong there.

  4. Let’s say this: developer behind that and other plugins is just a kind genius. If we dig deep he developed some of the greatest plugins we all need for instance limiter no.6 or molot compressor. All you need more is some descent reverb and delay and that’s it. Rest is just pure tweaking the knobs.

  5. i own GE version of this, also Slick and Slick M plugins since early days. In time they got some new awesome features. I recommend everyone this and other TDR plugins

  6. I’ve never heard Nova as harsh up top at all. Nova and Slick are two of the sweetest sounding high eq boosts in existence imo. it’s tremendously smooth to my ears It doesn’t cramp towards nyquist like many (even paid efforts) still do today.

  7. Nova is so good I’ll have to buy something from TDR to thank them.
    Really much valued workhorse on pretty much every track in my songs.

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